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Guest speakers at the early years and childcare conference

Read about the guest speakers and panellists taking part in the conference.

Julie Morgan, MS, Deputy Minister for Social Services

Julie Morgan was born in Cardiff and educated at Dinas Powys Primary School, Howell’s School, King’s College London, the University of Manchester and Cardiff University. She worked as a social worker and manager in South and West Glamorgan County Councils before becoming an assistant director at Barnardo's. She was a councillor on South Glamorgan County Council until she was elected as MP for Cardiff North in 1997.

During her time in Westminster Julie presented three Private Members’ Bills - one on banning smoking in public places, one on granting votes at 16, and one on preventing under-18s from using sunbeds which became law in 2010.

Julie was elected as the Assembly Member for Cardiff North in 2011 and was a member of the Public Accounts Committee, the Finance Committee and the Environment Committee during the Fourth Assembly, as well as chairing seven Cross-Party Groups covering areas such as children, cancer, and nursing and midwifery. In the Fifth Assembly, Julie was a member of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee and the Children, Young People and Education Committee.

On 13 December 2018 Julie was appointed Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services. Julie was appointed Deputy Minister for Social Services on 13 May 2021.

Rocio Cifuentes MBE

Rocio is the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, taking up the post in April 2022. Rocio was born in Chile, arriving in Wales as a one year old with her parents as political refugees from Chile. She went on to attend Cambridge University, where she read Social and Political Science before doing a Master's in Social Research Methods at Swansea University.

Before she became the Commissioner, Rocio was chief executive of EYST Wales, a Wales-wide organisation supporting ethnic minority young people, which she led and developed from its inception in 2005. She also served as Wales Committee Member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), as Chair of the Welsh Refugee Coalition, and as a board member of WCVA and CWVYS. She also previously worked for the Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations (CEMVO), Swansea Young Single Homelessness Project (SYSHP), Gower College and Swansea University. She is also the founder of the charity Mixtup supporting young people with disabilities.

Rocio has won several awards for her work, including a Special Recognition award from Muslim Council of Wales, Social and Humanitarian Achievement Award at the Ethnic Minority Welsh Women Awards and an Honorary Life Fellowship from the Institute of Welsh Affairs. In May 2022, she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, in recognition of her services to the community in Wales.

Follow her on Twitter @rocdaboss76 and @childcomwales.

Chantelle Haughton

Chantelle Haughton is a principal lecturer in primary education and early years, a National Teaching Fellow, a Senior HEA Fellow, a Forest School Leader and Trainer.

Chantelle Chaired Black History Wales 365 from 2020 to 2022, is Vice Chair for BAME Ed Network Wales, Vice Chair for the Early Years Network Wales, Deputy Chair for the Advance HE Race Equality Working Group at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Chair for Welsh Government Steering Group for Anti-Racist Action Planning for Early Years, Childcare and Play. External Examiner in two UK HEIs in and an External Moderator internationally.

Chantelle is Project Director for the National Programme DARPL Wales, Diversity and Anti-Racist Professional Learning for schools, funded by Welsh Government and co-designed and delivered with a coalition of partners led by Chantelle.

Chantelle was part of the Ministerial Working Group with Prof Charlotte Williams responsible for the Welsh Government report published in March 2021 on ‘Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Report’. Chantelle was Principal Investigator with Dr Susan Davis co-leading a research team in a Welsh Government funded research project to explore the lack of diversity in the recruitment and retention in teaching and career progression experiences for teachers from minority ethnic backgrounds in the Education Workforce in Wales (2021) this work resulted in the production of the Welsh Government National Action Plan for ITE recruitment and retention of Minority Ethnic Teachers.

Chantelle’s own diverse heritage and family mix, with lived and professional experience contribute to her sincere, robust knowledge and care for driving forward current and developing national policy and practice. Read more about DARPL here: https://darpl.org/

Glenda Tinney

Glenda is a Lecturer in the Department of Childhood, Youth and Education at University of Wales Trinity St David. She also works as an Admission Tutor supporting students to access early years courses. Her main interest is outdoor learning and she has experience of Forest School, which supports her work with children and adults in the outdoors. She regularly volunteers in a local setting supporting outdoor learning.

Sue Evans, Chief Executive, Social Care Wales

After a career in the NHS, Sue undertook a range of joint director roles with responsibility for health, social care and housing services. She worked as the statutory director of social services and chief officer of social care and housing with Torfaen County Borough Council until July 2016, when she became chief executive of Social Care Wales. Sue has a keen interest in promoting the importance of the role of social care in helping to safeguard and improve people’s lives, through empowerment and support.

Sarah McCarty

Sarah began her career as a youth worker in Wales. She worked in a variety of statutory and voluntary settings in particular with vulnerable young people, and in supporting young people’s participation. She was a founding member of the then Children and Young People’s Welsh Assembly. Sarah joined Social Care Wales as Director of Improvement and Development in April 2016. Sarah has become a Welsh language learner and is looking forward to putting this learning into practice.


Jonathan Cooper Assistant Director, Estyn

Jonathan is responsible for delivering the inspection programme of non-maintained settings. He oversees early years policy and Welsh in education. He is also jointly responsible for areas of stakeholder engagement.

Jonathan joined Estyn in 2015 and has worked mainly in the non-maintained, primary and local authority sectors. He has been a lead inspector in the non-maintained and primary sectors as well as a local authority link inspector.

Jonathan attended Caedraw Primary School and Cyfarthfa High School in Merthyr Tydfil before completing a music degree and PGCE at Bangor University. Before joining Estyn, he worked mainly in the primary sector firstly as a teacher and then headteacher.

Kevin Barker, Head of Inspection – Childcare and Play Inspection, Care Inspectorate Wales

Kevin is head of childcare and play inspection for Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW). He oversees the regulation and inspection of over 3,000 registered services and the joint inspection programme with partners at Estyn. He has undertaken a variety of senior roles for CIW and the predecessor inspectorates. Before joining the inspectorate, he worked in social services and social care as a social worker and as a senior manager, mostly in services for people with learning disabilities.

Helen Williams

Helen is the head of training, learning and development at Mudiad Meithrin.

She joined the Mudiad in 2018, having previously worked at the language enterprise of Menter Môn for more than 15 years.

Helen has extensive experience and interest in creating and delivering projects that promote and facilitate the Welsh language.

As part of the Mudiad’s strategic team, Helen leads the work of a varied training and learning department. The portfolio currently includes Croesi’r Bont, Mudiad Meithrin’s unique language immersion scheme which is delivered in 109 cylchoedd meithrin. Also in the department is the apprenticeship and national training scheme and the Cam wrth Gam schools project, which are are two major projects created to upskill and qualify the Welsh childcare workforce. To date over 3,000 CCPLD learners have qualified through these schemes. Academi is responsible for the Mudiad’s CPD opportunities for central staff as well as members and volunteers. Other projects include support for settings in implementing the new curriculum through foundation phase support staff, Welsh language support and upskilling through projects such as Camau.

The main objective throughout is to make sure every child has access to Welsh medium early years care and education.

First published: 6 September 2022
Last updated: 15 December 2022
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